Growing up in the scenic area of Savannah, Tenn., Darryl Worley was surrounded by Southern legends and traditions growing up. He grew up not far from Shiloh, a Civil War battlefield. His mother worked at an area bank where one of her regular customers was "Walking Tall" lawman Buford Pusser -- who spoke to the youth group at his Church growing up on several occasions, and he also recalls the sounds of his growing up -- the music he heard on radio stations out of the area. Conway Twitty, George Jones, and Merle Haggard were some of the most played artists around Savannah and Corinth, MS. Songs like Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home" left a mark on the singer.
"Sometimes, according to how homesick I am, I can't listen to songs like that," the singer told Billboard. "Songs like that take me back to those days growing up - all of those small towns and areas, and some of those stations. That's one of those songs that inspired me to be a singer and songwriter."
At the same time, Worley feels reinvigorated by a sense of renewal in his career. He has just inked a new deal with Tenacity Records, and has just returned to radio with the new single "You Still Got It." He says it's an exciting time in all facets of his life. "I still think of my wife and my little girl as 'new' too, so all this stuff is great. There's a lot of energy at the Worley house," he says with a smile.
"I think as far as the work is concerned, it all starts with the new music," he said enthusiastically. "There's not a song on this project that I would feel funny about releasing as a single. I don't know if I've ever been able to say that before. I'm really excited about the body of work, but the single is showing signs of being a big hit too, and that's what we need. That will get us back on track. I took a little leave of absence to get some things squared away at home, and spend some time with my baby girl when she needed me. We've still been working the road wide open, and I'm excited about where all this is going."
With Tenacity, Worley is working with some of the industry's heaviest hitters - names like David Haley, Mike Kraski, and Anne Yarbrough. "I've already had the opportunity to work with some of these folks before. They are very much take charge kind of guys - and gals. I wouldn't say we're all hungry, but we are. That's what we do. We get out and get after it and make things happen. I'm amazed at how much our philosophies have matched up from the get go."
He says that he feels the label has a great blue print for success, and how to get there. "They have a good game plan, and everyone works together for the common good. I'm just pumped. I think I wound up at the right place, and we're in a unique position right now. We can kind of dictate what we want to do, and that's the best place you can be."
He says that when he performs the song, there's one person that enters his mind. "I think of my beautiful wife, Kimberly, when I do this song. She has breathed life back into me."
The singer is wrapping up his debut album for Tenacity, and spending a lot of time on the road visiting radio, but he does admit when he crosses back into Hardin County, there's a special feeling that he gets. "Savannah, Pyburn, Pickwick, and Rogers Creek mean the world to me," he says of the region.
Worley loves being in a position to give back to the area, as he does with his annual week of events titled "Tennessee River Run," after one of his biggest hits, held every September. "It's an opportunity for me to get back home and get my feet on the ground. We're doing some really good things there, too. We finished constructing, and are in the process of treating cancer patients there at the Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center. There's so many other things that we do for other individuals in our area. It's a great combination of events, and I get to hang out with some of the greatest people in the world - not just my friends at home, but my fan base. I'm very blessed to have the Darryl Worley Foundation, and all the people that believe in it and work on it every day when I'm out running all over doing shows," says the singer, with just a little bit of that Hardin County Tiger Pride!
- Country